PA 08-4—sSB 65

Labor and Public Employees Committee

Government Administration and Elections Committee

AN ACT ALLOWING BLIND OR PHYSICALLY DISABLED STATE OR QUASI-PUBLIC EMPLOYEES TO USE ACCUMULATED SICK LEAVE FOR GUIDE DOG TRAINING

SUMMARY: This act allows permanent full-time state employees and quasi-public agency employees, who are blind or physically disabled, to use up to 15 days of accumulated paid sick leave to take guide dog or assistance dog training.

To qualify an employee must (1) have been employed for at least 12 consecutive months and (2) participate in training that prepares the employee to handle a guide or assistance dog for his or her own use. A guide dog or assistance dog organization that is a member of the professional association of guide dog or assistance dog schools must conduct the training.

The agency can require up to seven days advance notice of an employee's intention to use the leave and may require the employee to provide reasonable documentation that the leave falls under the act's permitted purpose.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2008

BACKGROUND

Guide and Assistance Dogs

Guide dogs are trained to help blind people navigate daily life activities including crossing streets and entering and exiting buildings. Assistance dogs are trained to help people with disabilities reach or access things that would be more difficult without the dog's help. This may include picking up keys that have fallen, opening cupboards, or retrieving other items. Both types of dogs enable people to be more independent.

OLR Tracking: JM: jr: cr: dw/tjo